Feeds

Outgoing info chief predicts data collection downturn

Suggests UK.gov use uberdatabases as comfort blankets

Boost IT visibility and business value

The outgoing information commissioner has predicted that government will reverse the trend to collect more personal data.

Richard Thomas made the forecast as part of his farewell speech at a conference in London organised by his office. He said it reflects a growing awareness of the need for a balance between security and liberty in collecting and sharing data.

"Sometimes public bodies take false comfort in mass data collection," he said, citing the example of the National Identity Scheme and the ContactPoint children's database. "It shows too much trust without being aware of the risks and demands of doing so."

He looked at the situation metaphorically by saying: "If you are looking for a needle in a haystack, it does not make sense to make the haystack bigger".

Thomas said the tide is now turning against data collection. "I think we will see less instinctive centralisation and less government collection of personal data in future years," he said.

He also said the Freedom of Information Act, which came into full effect at the beginning of 2005, has helped in making the issues of transparency and openness part of the political debate in the UK. This has been despite a resistance to it within parts of the public sector. He acknowledged during a discussion that some organisations have delayed their responses to information requests for unacceptably long periods.

Thomas, who has been information commissioner since 2002, said he is leaving a "holding strategy" on freedom of information for his successor, Christopher Graham.

"It's an overall framework for discharging the office's responsibility in this area," he said. "My successor will change it as he thinks appropriate."

This article was originally published at Kable.

Kable's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
Govt control? Hah! It's IMPOSSIBLE to have a successful command economy
Even Moore's Law can't help the architects of statism now
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
New voting rules leave innocent Brits at risk of SPAM TSUNAMI
Read the paperwork very carefully - or fall victim to marketing shysters
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.